It's busy season. Do you know who your transferees are?
You cannot properly execute any relocation without knowing who you are moving. When busy season hits, you are no longer dealing with one or two transferees. Instead, you are dealing with whole groups of people, so the challenge is figuring out how to satisfy the majority.
Transferees can be segmented in all sorts of ways (homeowner, non homeowner, single, family, etc.) but it’s really important to remember that transferees will talk to one another about the benefits they are receiving. If you split your base between single and family, for example, there may be backlash from singles who feel discriminated against because they did not receive the same level of benefits as someone with a family.
To diffuse the “it’s not fair” chatter as much as possible, the most efficient way to segment your transferee base is by level within the company. The three most common groups we see are college recruits/entry level new hires, middle managers/skilled employees and senior executive/C-suite. To gain a better understanding of your base, here is a breakdown of what you need to know for each level:
College Recruits: It is graduation season and that means a lot of companies will be looking to hire and relocate new talent. If you are planning to relocate college grads, there are a few questions you will need to answer sooner than later (if you don’t know already).
Questions to consider:
The challenge: There are two major challenges to be prepared for when moving this group: lack of moving knowledge, which can lead to waste and angst and small shipments which are difficult to move in the summer.
The takeaway: It’s important to make sure that the entry-level policy is not too rich, but still competitive with other companies fighting for the same talent. A comprehensive look at what will be most beneficial for your specific base will help you define the most meaningful benefits for this group. Education about moving will be critical.
Middle Managers/Skilled Employees: You may be practiced at moving this group as they are likely to be transferred at any point during the year. That said, summer season volume will highlight the many challenges that this diverse group of employees will face:
Questions to consider:
- Where are your grads coming from? Will they all be from the same school? Same region?
- Are you hiring any grads that are studying on international visa? This may require immigration assistance, which would need to be processed in advance (3-4 months).
- What are their current living accommodations? Some grads may be living at home, while others will be leaving an apartment. This could impact your housing benefits.
- Can you get an idea of how much “stuff” will have to be moved? Summer season is the busiest time of year for moving companies, and small shipments are the hardest to move. Knowing this in advance will help you manage expectations for your transferee.
The challenge. This group is the most challenging group to assess because they are so many variables. HR should be prepared for financial issues, family concerns, resistance to lateral moves and real estate challenges that may be difficult to solve within policy budget parameters.
The takeaway: The more you know about these transferees, the better off you will be down the road. In person meetings and pre-decision assessments will shed valuable insight on the specific challenges each transferee will face. Benefits will need to be far more comprehensive than those offered for college grads.
Senior Executives/C-Suite: These folks are used to getting what they want, when they want it, and most companies will pay for it. Like all other transferees, they will want to move in the middle of the summer when it is most convenient for their families.
Questions to consider:
- Is the group at a salary range where they are likely own a home? This will impact housing benefits.
- Are most of your transferees, new hires, lateral moves or promotions? This will affect willingness to move, flexibility and overall attitude.
- Do they have a family? Family concerns are the greatest barrier to a successful relocation. Spousal assistance, school finding and elder care assistance may be helpful.
- Are your transferees financially able to move? With many homes underwater, it’s important to understand if its feasible for your transferees to move at all and, if it’s not feasible, if and how you will help them.
- What if they own a $1M+ property? Can we afford to offer them a Home Sale Program that rich?
- Are you recruiting at this level or moving a current executive? Executive recruits are in high demand and the relocation package is a big part of the overall compensation package, which has to be competitive.
- Do they have a family? Working spouse? Elder parent? Child?
The challenge: This group has very different challenges just because of who they are. Their relocation packages are a big part of the negotiation and are typically very lucrative. They are used to and expect to have everything done for them – even personal items that pertain to their home sale. They do not like delays and they rarely hear the word no.
The takeaway: The good news is that, unlike the middle management group, the relocation package is usually rich enough to offset specific challenges, including housing. Relocation managers will still need to explain the package and be diligent in managing expectations, even if it is intimidating to do so.
Once you have a general understanding of the groups you are moving, you can identify and prepare for the potential challenges that may occur at the height of the busy season. After that, all you need to do is take a deep breathe, grit your teeth and get through next four months.
- Are they financially able to move? Despite being some of the highest paid transferees, this group may still be facing a negative equity situation or have other financial tie-ups that can impact the relocation.